Growing up in Heideveld was not easy for Ekraam Cupido but he used his musical talent to stop himself from falling into the cycle of crime and gangsterism.
Ekraam, 33, decided to be a role model to other youngsters.
His passion for music and specifically singing, developed as his father was involved with the Malay choir and minstrel groups.
His parents, Cassiem and Mymoena, made sure that their children were familiar with the scene.
While attending Cathkin High School, Ekraam and four friends formed the well-known group, Protege.
He said after school the group would go to the Heideveld community centre where they would play soccer and teach the youth how to use their talent wisely and not to join gangs.
“It was tough growing up in Heideveld. Gangsterism was rife and it was hard not to fall into the same trap. I wanted to make a change and become a role model to the youth,” he said.
After being part of the group for 12 years, Ekraam, decided to go solo and now owns a company called Shazec Diamond Productions.
In 2009, the Parktown resident won the Westgate Mall Voice Search competition. He said that looking back he realised that many of the friends he often played with have fallen into the cycle of crime and gangsterism and he feels proud to have done the opposite. “I am proud of my achievements. In 2007 I performed for the king of Malaysia and I was so honoured to do that. I have been all over South Africa with my music.”
Ekraam said his parents and wife, Shameema Jacobs, have been his support system.
“My parents always supported me and moulded and guided me into the person that I am today. A lot of good comes out of Heideveld not just the negative, there is so much talent but some of the children don’t have the support or the opportunity,” he said.
He said growing up with friends who also loved music helped him discover his passion for the industry and kept him on the right path.
Ekraam will be performing in Disco Fever at the Joseph Stone Auditorium on Saturday November 11, at 8pm. He will be joined by Soul Journ, Nur Abrahams, Fagrie Isaacs, Mono Dullisear and Monox (Moenier Adams) for a show of music from the 80s and 90s.
Tickets cost R120 and can be bought at the door. For more information call Shameema Jacobs on 073 729 3807.